Icons who met the Queen – from Mandela and Mother Teresa to the Spice Girls

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During more than 70 years on the throne, the Queen met many of the most famous people on the planet.

She rubbed shoulders with the biggest stars in Hollywood at film premieres and had state visits from the most powerful politicians in the world.

From Frank Sinatra to Nelson Mandela and the Spice Girls to Mother Teresa, here are some of the other well-known figures to have met the monarch.

Marilyn Monroe, shaking hands with the Queen at the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, on the occasion of the 1956 Royal Film Performance.
Marilyn Monroe, shakes hands with the Queen at the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square

Marilyn Monroe – 1956

The Queen was just a few weeks older than Marilyn Monroe when they met in London three years after the Coronation.

Monroe shook Her Majesty’s hand as she greeted stars at the Royal Film performance of The Battle of the River Plate at the Empire Theatre in Leicester Square.

Monroe died from an overdose in Los Angeles, California, six years later.

The Queen and Princes Margaret attended the annual Royal commander film performance at the empire theatre, Leicester Square in London at night on Oct. 29, 1956. Film chosen as this year’s representative production was ‘The Battle of the River Plate’. Shown in photo are Princess Margaret look at the left as French actress Brigitte Bardot greets the Queen in the Foyer of the theatre before the show at centre is Dana Andrews. (AP Photo). Pic: AP
French actress Brigitte Bardot greets the Queen on the same night. Pic: AP

Brigitte Bardot – 1956

On the same October evening, the Queen also met the French actress and singer Brigitte Bardot.

Bardot made sure she was dressed appropriately, with elbow-length gloves and a satin ball gown.

The Queen and Sophia Loren 1957
The Queen and Sophia Loren in 1957

Sophia Loren – 1957

The following year at the Royal Film performance of Les Girls at the Odeon in Leicester Square the Queen met the Italian actress Sophia Loren.

It was the year Loren starred in The Pride and The Passion.

Frank Sinatra and the Queen
Frank Sinatra met the Queen at the height of his fame

Frank Sinatra – 1958

Sinatra met the Queen at the height of his fame in 1958 at the Odeon Theatre in Leicester Square at the premiere of Me and the Colonel, a Danny Kaye film.

They met again in 1983 at 20th Century Fox’s studios.

John F Kennedy and the Queen 1961
John F Kennedy and his wife Jackie met the Queen in 1961

John F Kennedy – 1961

The US president and his wife Jackie were given a dinner at Buckingham Palace in June 1961.

There were thought to be tensions between Mrs Kennedy and the Queen, and reports claimed that the First Lady was “unimpressed by the palace furnishings, the Queen’s dress and her hairstyle.”

They would have been given a state visit later but President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963. The Queen met Jackie again when they unveiled a memorial to him at Runnymede

The Beatles at Buckingham Palace 1965
The Beatles at Buckingham Palace 1965

The Beatles -1965

The Beatles first encountered the Queen in 1963 when they played the Royal Variety Performance.

They told the crowd: “The people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands… and the rest of you, if you’d just rattle your jewellery.”

Luckily for them, the Queen found the joke funny and the band were awarded OBEs two years later.

Barbara Streisand and the Queen, 1975. Pic: AP
Barbara Streisand and the Queen in 1975. Pic: AP

Barbra Streisand – 1975

American actress Barbra Streisand wore a striking lavender hooded cape to meet the Queen at the premiere of Funny Lady in London in 1975.

Actress Elizabeth Taylor curtsies as she is greeted by the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at the premiere of "Cockleshell Heroes" in the Empire Theater on Nov. 23, 1955 in London.    Beside Miss Taylor is her husband Michael Wilding and at his right is actress Jackie Lane.   (AP Photo)
Elizabeth Taylor curtsies as she is greeted by Prince Philip

Elizabeth Taylor – 1976

Elizabeth Taylor and her husband John Warner met the Queen at a charity gala in Washington four years after she soared to stardom in Anthony and Cleopatra.

The pair were noted for wearing the same colour dress.


Feb 1986
Mother Teresa met the Queen in India in 1983

Mother Teresa – 1983

The Queen met Mother Teresa in Delhi on her 1983 tour of India.

The monarch always expressed the deepest of respect for her work and referred to her acts of selflessness in several of her speeches.

Princess Diana went on to meet Mother Teresa several times.

Queen and Cliff Richard, 1995
The Queen and Cliff Richard in 1995

Sir Cliff Richard – 1995

Sir Cliff met the Queen several times and was a friend of Princess Diana’s.

He wore a striking gold blazer to meet Her Majesty at the Royal Variety Performance in London.

Queen and the Spice Girls, 1997
The Queen and the Spice Girls in 1997

The Spice Girls – 1997

At the height of their international fame, the Spice Girls met the Queen after the Royal Variety Performance at Victoria Palace Theatre in London.

Many noted their daring outfits for such a formal occasion.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II meets Madonna at the World Premiere of new James Bond film Die Another Day - in which the American star has a leading role - at the Royal Albert Hall.
Madonna met the Queen at the world premiere of James Bond movie Die Another Day

Madonna – 2002

The Queen of Pop met Her Majesty in 2002 at the London premiere of the Bond film Die Another Day at the Royal Albert Hall.

Welcoming Nelson Mandela for a state visit to the UK in 1996
Nelson Mandela paid a state visit to the UK in 1996

Nelson Mandela – 2003

Mandela visited London in 2003 and was given a reception at Buckingham Palace.

The pair met through Mandela’s involvement with the Rhodes Trust, which provided scholarships for overseas students to study at Oxford.

Queen and Sir Elton John, 2012
The Queen shakes hands with Sir Elton John in 2012

Sir Elton John – 2008

Elton was knighted by the Queen for services to music in 1998. The previous year he sang at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales.

He met the Queen again backstage at her Diamond Jubilee Concert in 2012 at which he performed.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth speaks next to U.S. President Barack Obama during a State Banquet in Buckingham Palace in London May 24, 2011. Obama was treated to royal pomp at Buckingham Palace Tuesday on a two-day state visit aimed at ensuring the United States and Britain keep the "special" in their relationship. REUTERS/Lewis Whyld/PA Wire/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS)
Barack Obama met the Queen several times

Barack Obama – 2009

President Obama travelled to the UK for the first time in 2009 and then again in 2011.

He and his wife Michelle were hosted by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace on both occasions.

Mrs Obama broke protocol by trying to give the Queen a hug, which she later said was because the pair had been talking about uncomfortable shoes.

File photo dated 7/12/2009 of Queen Elizabeth II meeting American singer Lady Gaga following the Royal Variety Performance in Blackpool. Issue date: Thursday September 8, 2022. The monarch was not fazed by celebrities and encountered hundreds of showbiz stars, pop legends and Hollywood greats over the decades, but many admitted to nerves on coming face to face with the famous long-reigning sovereign.
Lady Gaga wore an Elizabethan-style latex dress to meet the Queen, of course.

Lady Gaga – 2009

Pop royalty Lady Gaga met the Queen after her Royal Variety Performance in Blackpool in 2009.

Gaga wore a latex Elizabethan-style dress and red glitter eye make-up.

Queen and Yoko Ono, 2011
The Queen and Yoko Ono in 2011

Yoko Ono – 2011

Ono met the Queen years after her husband John Lennon was shot dead in America.

They met at the National Museum of Liverpool during a royal visit to Merseyside.

Queen and Angelina Jolie, 2014
The Queen and Angelina Jolie in 2014

Angelina Jolie – 2014

Jolie was given an honorary damehood for her aid work and her campaign to stop sexual violence in war-torn countries.

Queen and David Beckham, 2015
The Queen and David Beckham in 2015

David Beckham – 2015

David Beckham first met the Queen in 2003 when he was given an OBE shortly after Manchester United won the league.

His wife Victoria was given hers 14 years later by Prince William for services to the fashion industry.

David met the Queen in 2015 at a Buckingham Palace reception for the Queen’s Young Leaders programme.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II greets U.S. President Donald Trump as he arrives for the Ceremonial Welcome at Buckingham Palace, in London, Britain June 3, 2019. Victoria Jones/Pool via REUTERS
Donald Trump has called the Queen ‘an amazing person’

Donald Trump – 2019

Trump and his wife Melania were hosted by the Queen and Prince Philip during their 2019 state visit.

He also attended D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth. Trump was fond of the Queen and said that she was an “amazing person”.

Queen Elizabeth II alongside Sir David Attenborough after she presented both him and Julian Hector, Head of the BBC Natural History Unit, the 2019 Chatham House Prize at the Royal institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, London.
Sir David Attenborough had a long friendship with the Queen

David Attenborough – 2019

Sir David Attenborough was friends with the Queen for over half a century, and was knighted twice, for services to television and conservation.

In 2016, Sir David spoke at a service at St Paul’s to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday, and in 2019, the Queen – who was just a few weeks older than Attenborough – presented him with the Chatham House Prize.

Sir David produced the Queen’s Christmas addresses for more than five years in the 1980s and 1990s, and reportedly even helped chose the outfits she would wear for them.

U.S.President Joe Biden stands next to Britain's Queen Elizabeth as they meet at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, Britain, June 13, 2021. Arthur Edwards/Pool via REUTERS
Joe Biden visited the Queen at Windsor Castle last year

Joe Biden – 2021

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill met the Queen at Windsor Castle last year after the G7 summit in Cornwall.

Their visit included a Guard of Honour and tea at the castle.

Queen Elizabeth II greets Bill Gates at a reception for international business and investment leaders at Windsor Castle, to mark the Global Investment Summit. Picture date: Tuesday October 19, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story ROYAL Investment. Photo credit should read: Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA Wire
Bill Gates said he was ‘honoured’ to have met the Queen

Bill Gates – 2021

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates met the Queen at Windsor Castle after the Global Investment Summit last year at a dinner to showcase the best of British innovation.

When he heard of her death Gates wrote on Twitter: “I feel honoured to have met HM Queen Elizabeth, and I am very sad to hear of her passing.”

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